IOWA CITY, Iowa – University of Iowa women’s soccer tied Illinois, 1-1, on Sunday to open Big Ten Conference play. Iowa moves to 6-0-2 overall for the season.
Trailing late in the second half, a goal from senior Kelli McGroarty in the 84th minute lifted the Hawkeyes to their first point in the conference standings.
After trailing for more than 50 minutes of game action, Iowa sent a full-court press that resulted in a proverbial alley-oop; junior Elle Otto delivered a high, arcing cross to McGroarty, who slammed a forceful header through the net to draw the Hawkeyes even.
That would prove to be the final shot of the match, resulting in the stalemate.
Despite being outshot, 6-3, in the first half, the Fighting Illini took an early lead when graduate student Makena Silber jumped a pass between senior captains Maggie Johnston and goalkeeper Macy Enneking. The goal was left undefended, resulting in just the second score allowed by the Iowa defense this season.
The Hawkeyes responded, ultimately outshooting Illinois, 15-8, with 10 shots on goal. Enneking finished with four saves and also fended off a one-on-one look in the second half, forcing a shot wide of the net.
HEAR FROM HEAD COACH DAVE DIIANNI
“We are feeling mixed emotions. I think we had a good week in practice. Today was a great opportunity for us to learn that the Big Ten is very challenging. Especially when you make some critical mental errors, and I am not talking about the giveaway in the back. We missed opportunities in the box, as well.
I loved how we came out in the first 15 minutes, but we were just not clean enough. Illinois is a good team. They are right behind us in the RPI, and we gave them the opportunity to feel good about the game. I thought we missed some details on some corners and some set pieces. I was a bit disappointed on that, and then being a bit more clinical in the box.
We changed systems in the second half and felt our team showed a bit of resolve and fight. Getting points on Sunday is really important. Our team did that. We will learn from it before we get on the road to Wisconsin.”
- Iowa outshot Illinois 15-8. Iowa holds a sizeable advantage in shots taken (128-47) and shots on goal (60-22) against its opponents this season.
- The Hawkeyes have recorded 10 or more shots on goal in four of eight matches this season.
- 90 Tracker: Defender Samantha Cary (6), Millie Greer (5) and Johnston (3) each logged 90 minutes against the Fighting Illini. Senior Rielee Fetty (2) is the only other Hawkeye who has played the entirety of at least one game this season.
Iowa faces Wisconsin at 7 p.m. (CT) on Sept. 21 at the McClimon Track and Soccer Complex in Madison, Wisconsin. The Hawkeyes return home on Sept. 24 to host Minnesota for the Go Green for Mental Health Game. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. (CT).